Cuddly pets are not your thing, but you still want some companionship. The idea of a chill pet has you intrigued, and reptiles are right up your alley…
So, you’re considering a turtle…
Turtles have a reputation for being slow-paced and easy to care for. Slow-paced is generally true on land. Once certain types of turtles are in the water (where they spend much of their time anyway), they are much faster than you’d ever imagined!
That’s one of the great things about turtles– there are so many different types, and many of them make excellent low-key pets. They are also easy to care for, but that does not mean they don’t have particular needs. Their environments must be well-managed in order for them to thrive.
Let’s take a look at some turtle care 101 so that you have an easier time deciding if a turtle is the right pet choice for you.
As mentioned, there are various types of turtles, so diet will vary according to the type you own. Pet stores sell turtle pellets that can cater to the dietary needs of certain types of turtles. They also sometimes carry freeze-dried mealworms, which some turtles eat. Some turtles eat small insects, small fish, and/or dark, leafy greens. Once you decide which type of turtle you’ll have as a pet, you can narrow down what they’ll eat. It’s also unnecessary to feed your turtle every day. You can skip a day here or there, and only feed your turtle a total of 4-5 times per week. If you have a baby turtle, feeding frequency will increase until they are grown.
Even small turtles need room to swim! Provide at least a 25-gallon tank (or larger) to accommodate your turtle’s need for swimming space. They need a dry surface where food is kept, and where they can bask in the heat or artificial lighting (if needed). Reptile-specific bulbs provide UVB rays that some turtle types. Some also need heating bulbs for desired temperatures. Otherwise, the water should read around 75 degrees Fahrenheit for your turtle to swim. Clean your turtle’s environment once a week by removing and replacing some of the water. Replace all the water in the tank every two weeks or so.
Other facts you should know
Some types of turtles hibernate during certain parts of the year. Do your research for the type of turtle you choose and find out what you need to provide for hibernation (if anything). Expect your turtle to be mostly inactive during that time. Turtles are fun to watch but don’t particularly love being handled. If you are considering one as a pet, keep in mind that you have not acquired a new cuddle buddy, and only handle it if necessary. If you do handle your turtle, wash your hands after. They are at risk to carry salmonella and can pass it along.
Turtles are fun and interesting pets. They provide companionship without a lot of fuss. We hope this information is helpful in deciding whether or not they are your perfect pet!